30 Before 30: A Rough Outline

I’ll be turning 30 in four years. And I just wanted to think about all the things I wanted to do before I turn 30. That’s it, pancit. (This is also me avoiding so much blog backlog, I can’t even.)

It has been four years since I graduated from university, wow. I’m on my second job right now, in a sector I want to stay in for the rest of my life, also considering graduate school, investing, and just generally getting better at being an adult – which means fully committing to #StopBuyingShit2k16 and eventually #StopBuyingShitPeriod.

I’m used to the sound of deadlines swooshing by, so I probably won’t accomplish every goal on this list by the time I turn 30, but it’s always good to have some semblance of a plan, right? Right.

So, here’s an outline of things I’ve always wanted to do and things I just thought of right now before I turn 30, in no particular order.

  1. Travel alone.
  2. Eat the best of something in the world once (even though I’ll poop it out eventually).
  3. Write a book (or a lot of little bits that can be smushed together to form a book).
  4. Get published.
  5. Go vegetarian for a month.
  6. Learn a new language – or a dialect!
  7. Start a social enterprise.
  8. Read the entire Bible (I’m not religious, but I think this is important).
  9. Grow tomatoes.
  10. Organize a Christmas food kitchen.
  11. Then do something more sustainable and long-term.
  12. Tutor public school kids in my community.
  13. Grant the wishes of lolos and lolas in a nursing home.
  14. Take my parents on an all-expenses-paid trip.
  15. Climb a mountain.
  16. Build or rehabilitate a public school library in a remote area.
  17. Document 365 consecutive days of my life in photos (a visual journal).
  18. Master my DSLR (I stopped at trying to understand aperture and winged it from there).
  19. Get better at Illustrator.
  20. And After Effects.
  21. And Final Cut.
  22. Learn how to code!
  23. Watch one film a day for an entire year (I’ve attempted this several times already).
  24. Spend a day at an elephant conservation center.
  25. Donate blood.
  26. Get a tattoo.
  27. Get a Master’s degree.
  28. Machu Picchu!
  29. Take a few muay thai or Krav Maga classes.
  30. Make a full-length film using my phone camera.

The ones that didn’t make the cut:

  1. Find a foundation shade that matches my skin tone.
  2. Shave my head.
  3. Have a very, very specific Starbucks order.
  4. Make my own cheese.
  5. And butter.
  6. Audition for Pinoy Big Brother.
  7. Run for public office.
  8. Become an Uber driver on the side.
  9. Become a Munchkin cat.

What are your 30 before 30 goals?

My Grab Driver was a Jehovah’s Witness

Friday night. Payday weekend.

I made plans to have dinner with a friend, uncharacteristically. On Friday nights, I would normally be found at home, watching Netflix, guzzling chips, and beckoning my cat to sit beside me (she doesn’t, that tart). I was coming from my office in Makati and decided to take a car service going to Bonifacio Global City instead of testing my luck trying to hail a cab. Since it was almost 6:00 in the evening on a Friday payday night, Uber’s surge rates were ridiculous. I turned to Grab for the first time and found the fixed fare to be more reasonable. Within five minutes, I had a driver. Excellent. Let’s call him Fred (not his real name).

When I got inside Fred’s car, I was feeling pretty good. He greeted me very warmly, and I felt comfortable enough to start a conversation with him. Fred seemed like a nice guy. We lamented the traffic a little bit, as usual, then I asked Fred about his weekend plans (because it was a long weekend weekend at that time). He said he was just staying in Manila, but if he could, he would go back to Palawan where he worked as an engineer for Hagedorn when he was younger. Palawan is one of my favourite places in the world, I told him. He started reminiscing about the days when Palawan was practically underdeveloped, and how beautiful it was before it boomed as a prime tourist destination. I thought this cab ride might be one of the bests in my book.

We were waiting for a stoplight to turn green along Makati Avenue when he asked me a really strange question. “Ma’am, Katoliko po ba kayo? (Ma’am, are you a Catholic?)” Huh? What does my religion have to do with El Nido and Coron? The evening’s first red flag went up.

“Um, yes. Kayo po? (Um, yes. What about you?)” I asked.

Fred said he was also a Catholic. “Ma’am, alam niyo po ba kung sino talaga namumuno sa mundo? (Do you know who really governs the world?)” Alarms started ringing inside my head. I checked the door locks.

When I hesitated to answer, he gave me options. “Tao? Pera? O si Satanas? (People? Money? Or Satan?)” This ride officially become weird at that point. What the fuck is going on?

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Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kay

God knows I’m not the best lamb in the flock.

I’m that lamb who doesn’t like being bothered to go to worship on Sundays—much less worship on weekdays, sorry Feasters—and who hates having to write down religious affiliation on government documents.

I’ve struggled with religion ever since I was a child. I didn’t go as far as calling myself an atheist or denouncing Christianity to my God-loving parents, but there has always been that persistent nugget of doubt in my gut that has kept me from enjoying Sunday school or fully participating in praying the rosary. I’ve always felt pressured to accept my religion since I was baptised as a baby, enrolled in a Catholic school run by nuns, and urged to undergo confirmation rites. I could’ve done something about confirmation, but I couldn’t tell my parents to hold the water and oil while I researched what they were committing my soul for when I was barely a year old.

I don’t blame my parents for making me a Christian because I know they made that choice (and the choices they’re still making) for me out of love. I just feel like I was thrust into the world of Christianity before I was ready for it, or before I even had a working understanding of what it is and what it could be. God knows I hate being rushed.

For all intents and purposes, I think I still consider myself a Christian. I just have a lot of questions.

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Of Summer Scarves and Social Media

Officially I’ve been a marketing associate for six months and a communications professional for three years, more or less. I consider myself a person who thinks twice before talking, who self-edits quite diligently, and who never means to offend anyone (even if I do mean to offend someone). With all this time and experience under my belt, it shocks me when I still make rookie mistakes. And what are mistakes if not actions done without thought of consequence? It can be as simple as saying something careless online, and waking up the next morning with your head spinning. Because the mistake isn’t just contained in 140 characters. Sure, you didn’t mean it, but somehow it finds its way into your work, your friends, strangers, and the potentialities of your life. Then suddenly you’re scrambling to control the damage thousands of people can see.

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